The worldly vision

(Note: An expanded version of this essay—which attempts to address some of the objections leveled in the comments below as well as at The American Conservative—is over at On Faith.)

 

I am angry, and so I hope you will forgive me for whatever I write that offends, unless you need offending, in which case I hope you receive it in love.

I am angry at the people who, having sponsored children through World Vision, having developed relationships with these little ones who now depend on them, would so easily threaten to walk away. I am angry, as well, at self-professing Christians who imagine, with neither humility nor understanding, that their novel interpretation of the Bible is grounds for forcing the rest of Christendom to come along with them on their journey into apostasy.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Viejita

Those of you who were outraged by World Vision’s state-pressured recognition of same-sex marriages, would you turn your backs on the little girl in danger of being sold into sex slavery in Thailand, the little boy in Haiti whose mother cannot feed him, for a point of dogmatic purity in an organization which is not the Church?

Do you demand the same purity of the sports teams you root for, of the stores where you buy your comfortable clothes, of the grocery stores where you buy your steaks?

Do you think the Church so weak that it needs affirmation from the Human Resources department of World Vision to maintain what was instituted by God?

The world heads deeper into sickness, and sometimes people who call themselves Christians are leading the way. For them we pray, not because the Church is endangered, not because marriage is endangered, but because their souls are endangered. Cutting off funds to poor and defenseless children will not save one soul. So on what grounds will you justify it, when your own day of judgment comes?

And to those of you who bathe yourselves in righteous indignation at World Vision’s reversal, who believe that your personal revelations outweigh centuries of Church tradition and teaching, who haven’t the slightest charity towards your brothers and sisters, casting our refusal to embrace your beliefs as evidence of hatred in our hearts—and thereby, conveniently and cheaply, a superior love within your own—shame on you.

“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore,” writes the apostle Paul, “but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

You lay down stumbling blocks at every turn. You do it despite believing that any building with a cross and a preacher is a church, which means that you have the freedom to start whatever churches you like, and establish whatever ceremonies you choose, and call these marriages, and declare that God smiles on them. Your beliefs give you the freedom to worship God however you see fit, but this does not content you, because you need the rest of Christendom to agree with you. You would make your brother choke down the idol’s food, and call him unchristian if he does not. You derive your righteousness from pointing out the mote in his eye.

Some would defund poor children to make a dogmatic point; you would risk that funding to make your own. You decry the actions of your brethren when you are no better.

The Church has withstood apostates from the beginning. It has withstood politics, Muslim invasions, totalitarian oppression, even the malaise and indifference of Western modernism. It will endure, long after the current heretics have been replaced by more outrageous heretics. It will endure even as a thousand counterfeits spring up, ten thousand false teachings, a hundred thousand false prophets, a million impersonators of Christ. The Church does not veer into apostasy, apostates veer away from the Church.

And for them we should pray. We should pray for them, and perhaps they can pray for us, and maybe we can even talk about our differences—with each other, rather than to outsiders who look on our strife with pleasure. Maybe, even, we can speak truth to one another in love.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Tell me, are any of us doing this very well? I’m certainly not. I could spend the remainder of my life trying to get this right. How about you?

Comments

  1. Pingback: The World Vision kerfuffle | Tipsy Teetotaler

  2. EliteCommInc

    I was heading off to see the movie Noah, until I read this.

    And while I am very empathetic to the indictment, it reads not as an indictment from Christ, but one of the world and seemingly devoid of any understanding of what World Vision conveys or represents as members of a larger body of Christ.

    ——————————————-
    “Those of you who were outraged by World Vision’s state-pressured recognition of same-sex marriages, would you turn your backs on the little girl in danger of being sold into sex slavery in Thailand, the little boy in Haiti whose mother cannot feed him, for a point of dogmatic purity in an organization which is not the Church?

    Do you demand the same purity of the sports teams you root for, of the stores where you buy your comfortable clothes, of the grocery stores where you buy your steaks?

    Do you think the Church so weak that it needs affirmation from the Human Resources department of World Vision to maintain what was instituted by God?”

    ———————————————
    1. I am not outraged. More and more organizations calling themselves Christians have agreed to accept “same sex” relations as those ordained by God. While well meaning, and no doubt heartfelt, it is wholly contradictory to scripture. The problem with calling one’s organization one led by Christi that it carries with it some responsibility to adhere to what Christ calls Christians to be on the face of the earth. And wile each of has our unique burdens and failings, we could n more condone error and that seems to be the case with World Vision.

    There are lots of little girls in various stages of threat. am quite confident that that there are organizations who reflect more of what Christ desires that engage in fine work with people in need. It may be sad that this one little girl will have to find funding elsewhere, but there is no reason that anther little girl will in similar circumstance will not benefit from the same with services by another organization.

    2. The state pressure should have met the same resolve as Paul and Peter demonstrated. If not for Christ we would love to oblige.
    “We bare no ill will against people who practice this behavior, however, our first allegiance is to Christ. We hope that our work speaks for itself. Should you demand we o otherwise as to Christ. We must refrain from doing the work. It has been our joy to do it. But no doubt Christ will provide us with other needy children. All we ask is that you provide sufficient time to close our services and move our personnel and well do so as soon as possible, for we are also called to live in peace. We regret that we can no longer fed the children in ________. It pains us to stop.”

    3. You claim to represent the Church. And there are many whose understanding of what that means includes a life reflecting Christ. I would that you might have respect for those in Christ who have a very legitimate concern and are themselves deeply disappointed in the turn of events. Certain you would embrace them as partners in the mission to help children even if they did so another venue.

    4. Perhaps, your organization is in fact founded by Christ. But it would seem to many that you have left that foundation and created your own in the name of servicing a good cause. Condoning same sex marriages hardly seems Christ like. And one would remind you that most themes throughout all of scripture is purity. In ac that is one of the essences of Christianity to be purified by Christ. To seek purity and to be pure. The Church herself is to be as a virgin in preparation for Christ’s return. One wonders why you seem to shun this as if it is a fault. But what is more curious is that you had no complaint about this dogmatic purity when it served your purposes. But it s cause to insult – curious that.

    5. Well, sports teams are not organized under the auspices of being Christian or Christ centered. They are purely secular. So I am not sure why you claim the need to you make the comparison unless you are now removing the yoke of a Christian mantle. Which for the sake of integrity is quite appropriate and might have even made a difference in choices to continue or withdraw support. Certainly you considered that option.

    And if a football team claimed that they were a team under the mantle of Christ, founded by Christ — I would expect them to abide by the same. In either case perhaps the more traditional churches are no less moved by conscience than World Vision.

    5. As to where I buy my clothes and live in comfort. That is wholly irrelevant. The reason you appeal to the west is because they have some wealth comfort by which they could provide. And while I am confident that you know the condition of every Church that lends its support, it may very well be that many in any given congregation are not comfortable at all. When I was giving to World Vision, I had no idea where my next meal was coming from sometimes. I ever worried if money would e cause to drop out of school. I was generally ‘skint’. Comfortable perhaps compared to the children you serve — but wealthy — hardly. Whether I deprive myself of a steak or a French fry does not mean my deprivation should go to World Vision.

    6. As for affirmation by the human resources department, one would certainly hope that the human resources department would reflect that which the organization claims to be. Or was the human resources department inspired by something other tan God?

    I have several other responses, but first I must read your comments in their entirety and context. Because there is something I fid very alarming in your content that reads of extreme guilt mongering — this is an old motif used by so many child advocates to extort money and I am very troubled that you use it – tell me the number of little girls sold into the sex slave trade.

    Emotional extortion — does not sound like Christ, in my view. But Then I should review scripture on the question. But your comments wreak of what Christian and non-Christian should be weary of in response.

    posted as is on another site (minus corrections) (TAC)

  3. Peter

    I haven’t seen anyone “turn their backs” on the poor because of World Vision’s initial policy shift. Many people, including myself, will simply redirect their giving to a similar organization. I will do that when the commitment to my sponsored child is finished, which will be several years. Conversely, I don’t see you slamming those who started giving to WV when they began accepting gay couples. Did they only become concerned about the poor when the policy changed? Of course not! They are simply giving to organizations that reflect their values. I will do the same.

  4. Post
    Author
    Woodlief

    Peter,
    The language from some commenters implied an immediacy to the termination of their support, which would mean, as you note, an immediate termination of their relationships with these children. That was what I meant by their walking away, though I see now I should have been clearer.

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